Big boys rule!
Lower and middle weight divisions are usually the foundation for high school wrestling teams. A much lower percentage of wrestlers competing in the heavier classes began the sport at an early age, creating an experience deficit.
The Fauquier Falcons’ 2019-20 squad is a departure from that norm, to head coach Doug Fisher’s glee.
“It’s probably the first time that I have had a solid set off upper weights,” the 10th-year coach said of the 182- through 285-pound divisions. “Most teams never have that.”
Many high school teams often use wrestling newcomers from the football team to fill those slots.
“He’s working,” Fisher said of a wrestler in that scenario. “He’s trying … but still a novice, which is tough sledding if you’re on our schedule.”
Senior Sam Fisher, the coach’s son, anchors that upper-weight unit. He returned at 182 pounds after tying a school record by winning a third state championship there last winter. Fisher also won the Region 4C and Class 4 Northwestern District titles last season and amassed 127 career wins.
Ben Bell also returned at 195 as a region runner-up, while Tommy Heisler placed third at 285. Heisler will move to 220 this winter, swapping with Casey Burr, who was fifth in the region during 2018-19.
“We certainly have a lot of experience in the upper weights,” Doug Fisher said. “Certainly helps in those close matches.”
Talent also is sprinkled elsewhere in the lineup.
Gino Camarca is at 145 after a sixth-place state finish last winter at 132 and a fourth at the region meet. Eric DeWald, the region runner-up at 145, went to 152, and David DeWald went to 170 after earning a region fifth at 152. Mitch Kuhns (160) also took fifth in the region at 138 in 2018-19.
With seven projected senior starters in the 14 classes, Fisher feels this group has chemistry earlier than usual.
“There’s just a really good attitude,” he said. “It’s probably the best early season we’ve had in four or five years.”
Last winter, Fauquier claimed the district crown by three points over Liberty before adding the region championship. Fisher anticipates being a factor once again at the district, region and state levels.
“We’re generally a contender the last six years or so,” he said. My goals generally will be the same.”
Fauquier opened the season Saturday at the Washington Elite Opener in Charles Town, West Virginia. Sam Fisher compiled a 5-0 record by moving up one weight to win the 195-pound gold medal.
Heisler was the 220-pound runner-up, while freshman D.J. Richards placed third at 120. Fourth-place wrestlers were Camarca (145), David DeWald (170) and Bell (220). Bell was a non-scoring entry for the team as Fauquier’s second entry at that weight.